New empires for the 21st century

New empires for the 21st century

Moscow Beijing the new

The weight of the past explains many things, but it does not explain everything and justifies few. Some are also authentic inventions. For example, the founding legends of the imaginary communities that are the millennial nations. Thanks to these narratives, Taiwan and Ukraine are territories over which communist China and Putinist Russia have sovereign rights, of course regardless of the will of their residents or their political legitimacy.

Because the two countries are so different, they evoke similar desires in Romanov, thanks to the resurgence in 21st-century forms of the ancient empires of two fallen dynasties, the Qing, who ruled the island of Formosa, present-day Taiwan, for two centuries until 1895 they did the same to Ukraine between 1654 and 1917. It is a coincidence that there are two authoritarian regimes heirs to the communist and anti-imperialist revolutions, that of Xi Jinping and that of Putin, who claim the legacy of two feudal empires.

In either case, the liberal democracies of Taiwan and Ukraine are a living indictment of the autocracies that seek to engulf them. The mere existence of these liberal regimes is a terrible example, an affront and even aggression to Xi Jinping and Putin. But it is geopolitics, not legend, that explains the voracity that threatens them. Both are keys to imperial expansion. Taiwan, the seas surrounding China and allowing control of the strategic Malacca Straits. Ukraine, from hegemony over Central Europe and thus from Russian control over the Eurasian continent.

The liberal empires of the 19th century maintained a dual legal regime, democratic for the metropolises and despotic for the colonies, as Josep Maria Fradera explained in his book The Imperial Nation. On the other hand, the authoritarian empires that claim to be leading the 21st century, while presenting themselves as benevolent and even peaceful, have already shown their warmongering claws and openly defended the same regime of oppression for all, in the metropolis and on the periphery.

These are questions difficult to understand for those who cling to ideological dogma and archaic anti-imperialism. Unable to discern the nature of the new imperialisms and develop solidarity with those who suffer under them, they do not distinguish the disguises with which today’s empires hide imperial desires akin to those of empires of the past, nor do they adopt those inherited from anti-colonialism rhetoric with which they accompany his colonial, expansive and warmongering policies like those of all previous empires.

In any case, it is surprising that those once colonized can submissively buy the false messages of these new postmodern empires, as if communist internationalism and the Third World idea are the ongoing legitimacy of contemporary Chinese and Russian imperialist and racist nationalism would be.

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